The ability to age in place is important to both baby boomers, for people with disabilities, and for the elderly. Key to aging in place is the ability to age safely and comfortably in one’s home. Sometimes however, falls can prevent safely aging in place.
Tripping over items and falling on the stairs are the top two causes of falls in the home. Also, as we age, we can develop arthritis and other conditions that make going up and down stairs more challenging. This was the case for Karl Schwengel, a 79 year old retired business manager who lived in a two-story Capitol Hill townhouse. As Karl got older, his health declined, resulting in difficulty getting up and down the 17 steps in his townhouse. So two years ago, Karl decided to get a stair lift installed.
A survey by the National Association of Home Builders states that 79 percent of buyers 55 and older would prefer a one-story home. However, census numbers indicate that most of the country’s homes are two or more stories. So having to use stairs to access the home is common. For some people in a two-story home, modifications can be made so that all necessities are on the main level. However, this may not be an option for many people; in these cases people may have to consider the use of a stair lift or an elevator.
A stair lift that goes up one flight of stairs can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $10, 000 depending on if it’s a straight lift or if it has turns or needs further customization. The plus to the lift is that it can be fairly reasonable to install. On the negative side, some people consider stair lifts unattractive. On the other hand, an elevator in the home can be more discrete but also more costly (a 3 stop elevator can cost between $20,000-$25,000).
If someone wants to age in place, planning ahead while you’re healthy is a crucial step in aging in place. If you do have a two-or three story home, think ahead to what you may need to do to your home if you can’t access all floors. Would a stair lift work for you, an elevator, or can you make modifications to the main level of your home that would allow you to live comfortably on that level if you had to?
Source: The Washington Post